Nerve Transfer Surgery A Success If Done Soon Enough.

6 Mar

Modern medical science and technology have come a long way.  Now there is a medical procedure called nerve transfer.

Nerve transfer is a surgical technique that may be used when a patient has a nerve injury resulting in complete loss of muscle function or sensation.

Nerve transfers involve taking nerves with less important roles, or branches of a nerve that performs redundant functions to other nerves, and “transferring” them to restore function in a more crucial nerve that has been severely damaged. The surgeon will use functioning nerves that are close to the target muscle or sensory area, and these nerves are transferred or “plugged in” to the injured nerve that no longer functions. The nerve that has been “plugged in” now supplies that function.

Time Is Of The Essence

According to Science Daily, “Nerve injuries requiring nerve transfer can be caused by many things such as accidents, sports or surgeries. Once a nerve is cut from a muscle, it has to be reinnervated within about 18 months before the muscle atrophies. Since nerves only regenerate one millimeter per day, sometimes they cannot regenerate and reach the muscle before it wastes away.”

Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at the Weill Cornell Medical College and Associate Attending Orthopedic Surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery, Dr. Steven Lee adds, “It has been shown that if you do nerve reconstruction work and surgery before six months after a nerve is severed, then patients do far better… If it has been more than 18 months, even if the nerve regeneration length is two centimeters, it may still be too late.”

One Response to “Nerve Transfer Surgery A Success If Done Soon Enough.”

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